Is your teen struggling with food lately? Is she excessively worried about her weight, even though she is not overweight?
Do you feel your teen might be trying to avoid food in fear of putting on weight? Bulimia in teenagers is rapidly becoming a alarming phenomenon, which in other terms is trouble for parents. Read on to know more.
What Is Bulimia?
Bulimia is a condition where your teenager will first eat in excess and then throw it all out by inducing vomit. Binging and purging is a common feature in bulimia. Your teen may also resort to other purging methods like using and abusing laxatives, fasting, using enema or exercising excessively to reduce weight. All this is often done in secret and your teen may be embarrassed to admit that there is a problem. In many cases, your teen may not acknowledge this as a problem at all. Eating and then throwing up the excess food may seem like a natural process to your teen.
What Is Teenage Bulimia?
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Your teen may binge and eat in excess within short breaks of two hours. This will then most likely be followed by purging. Your teen may engage in this kind of binging and purging multiple times a day. It will be most prominent in the evenings and nights. Your teen may feel disgust and shame at the entire condition, but may find it difficult to stop. She may have some very unrealistic expectations about body image. She will most likely never be happy about the way she looks and always feel a need to lose weight. Your teen may try and work her schedule in such a way that it gives her the chance to binge and then purge it out.
[ Read: How To Deal With Low Self Esteem In Teenagers ]
Symptoms Of Bulimia In Teens:
It may be difficult for you to spot the symptoms initially, as your teen will mostly do the binging and purging behind your back. Stay alert to spot these symptoms that can signal bulimia.
1. Your teenager, who was otherwise friendly and outgoing as a child, may suddenly seem withdrawn. She may not want to go out and socialize. She may also not want to attend gatherings where she may have to eat.
2. Your teenager may get obsessed about her body shape and weight. She may constantly check her image in the mirror and seem dissatisfied by what she sees. She may also criticize her looks, especially her weight and body shape, in front of you and others.
3. Your teenager may seem depressed, moody, irritable or unnaturally sad. She may feel lethargic and drowsy and may want to sleep all the time.
4. Your teenager will most likely be heading to the bathroom a lot after every meal. She could be spending a considerable amount of time there each time.
5. Your teenager may suddenly be eating excessively, almost to the point of gorging. She may already be full but may still eat in excess. She will also most likely not put on the extra weight, even though she may be overeating.
6. Your teenager may develop a severely strenuous exercising routine and practice it regularly.
[ Read: Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder In Teenagers ]
What Are The Effects Of Bulimia?
Teen bulimia, if left untreated, can lead to some serious health issues that can even turn life threatening. The most common effect of bulimia is dental damage. Constant vomiting makes the acids of the stomach eat away at the enamel of your teen’s teeth. This can lead to cavities and broken teeth. Vomiting constantly can lead to bleeding ulcers and a rupture in the stomach or esophagus. This can be life threatening. Bulimia also affects the psychological and emotional well-being of your teen.
[ Read: How To Increase Self Confidence In Teenagers ]
How Can I Help?
If you suspect your teen is suffering from bulimia, schedule an appointment with the doctor. After an initial checkup, your doctor may refer your teen for counseling.
Your teen will need your unconditional support, love and help during these growing up years. Be sure to be open in your communication. Do not be judgmental, even if you may not agree with your teen on everything. Set a positive example for your teen by loving yourself the way you are and telling her how much you love her for the person she is.
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